Cwray's Blog

March 19, 2011, 9:44 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Before making the decision to go to China I decided to do a little research on other teachers’ experiences to obtain a better grasp of what I was getting myself into.   I read about the cultural differences (there are a few), the differences in cleanliness of both countries (really unnoticeable to the untrained eye), and of the various activities that some schools require the teachers to take part in.  These events ranged from attending and judging English speaking competitions to giving speeches in front of the school and attending government officials.  I was aware that I might have to take part in similar events, but luckily I did not.  I did, however, take part in the New Year’s celebration that was being put on by the school.  The celebration would feature shows by the students, ranging from grades K-12, and I was to be in a fashion show with my second grade class in front of the students and their families.

First let me give you a rundown of the fashion show.  I was told that a costume would be made for me (which, as it would turn out, was constructed of clear tape and laminated CD’s) and that I was to walk down the “runway” twice, once with Lizzie and once with a student.   I would normally continue to write more here, but unfortunately when the words “clear tape” and “CD’s” are used to describe my costume then only pictures will do.  And here they are.

My students getting ready for the show

My lovely girls not listening to their teachers and instead focusing their attention on me.

Here are Lizzie and I doing our best to look excited; one of us is doing a better job than the other.

My third grade students looking at their English teacher with awe and admiration.

My third grade students.

Ah, to be young and flexible again!

My students workin' it!

Myself getting upstaged by my student, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

After stepping off the stage and out of my costume, I stood at the back of the auditorium and watched the performance. As I was doing this people would walk by and say hello, smile at me, and of course stare at me. There were two people who stared at me far too long, and after a bit of annoyance and biting of my tongue, I decided to snap their pictures. Did I do the right thing? You be the judge.

Hi there!

They start the staring at a young age in China.

This show, like much of my time in China, left me a bit confused and a bit embarrassed. I was forced to remain flexible and to simply enjoy the randomness that is China. At one point in time I was not going to do this show, but now as I look back, I am glad I did. I enjoyed being a goofball and I enjoyed making my students laugh. And at the end of it, I think the parents were both surprised and happy to see this American, a person viewed with great respect and esteem in China, and simply see him as a person who cared about their children. And if that is all I accomplished while in China, I consider both myself and my experience a success.


Karma, In Color
March 12, 2011, 10:37 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I have written, rewritten, and then written it again, but I have not been happy with any of my “return to blogging” blogs.  So instead of boring you with excuses explaining my absence, I have decided to begin with a series of posts, each with a picture of a student and a description of how they impacted my life.  I will begin with a student who needs no introduction, one who was both a terror and a joy, one I aptly named Karma.  In typical Chris form, this picture was taken at the last possible moment, in fact, I was afraid I would be unable to get it.  This picture was literally taken 10 minutes before I left my school, and Baoding for good, and just before the students would return home for their winter break.  So without further ado, here is…Karma.

The infamous Karma, looking the part well.

I took two pictures with him, but this is was the one I decided on.  I think it shows his attitude well.  In the end, I grew to adore Karma, and in fact, I looked forward to teaching his class.  He would often run to me in the hall between classes and say hello, and sometimes I would give him a tickle to see him smile.  I was sad to learn that Karma’s parents had proposed that the school keep him an extra week for break because he was such a handful at home and they did not want him.  Whether or not this comment intended as a joke or not, I do not know, but I was led to believe that the proposal was sincere.  And perhaps this simple comment is the root of why Karma acts out, I tend to think it is.  Karma is handful,  I will not deny that, but he is misunderstood and incredibly intelligent.  Years from now I will wonder about Karma and whether or not his potential was ever realized, if his attention was ever able to be focused.  But like so many “trouble students” who are misunderstood, I suspect I already know both the answer to that question as well as the question why Karma is the way he is.